Galloway and model minister say sorry for bust-up

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Indy Politics

The public spat between George Galloway and Ben Bradshaw ended as quickly as it started yesterday with apologies all round in the Commons.

The firebrand left-winger and the model New Labour minister made up just a day after an extraordinary stand-up row which halted a sitting.

Mr Galloway, Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin, repeatedly accused Mr Bradshaw of lying during a debate on Iraq. He compounded what is a cardinal sin for MPs by refusing to withdraw his works when asked to do so by John McWilliam, the deputy speaker. Mr Bradshaw, the junior Foreign Office minister, earned Mr Galloway's wrath by accusing him of "being not just an apologist but a mouthpiece for the Iraqi regime over the years".

Mr McWilliam took the highly unusual step of suspending the sitting, and referred the dispute to the Speaker, Michael Martin. But yesterday both men said sorry.

Mr Bradshaw, flanked by Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, rose first to say sorry.

He said: "I hope in my time here I have always shown proper respect for the chair and observed its rulings. However, on reflection, I accept that it would have been better if I had not used the phrase that I applied to him [Mr Galloway] and I'm sorry for the offence that was caused."

Mr Galloway, seated on the back benches just a few yards further along the chamber, said: "Exchanges on both sides of the argument were decidedly robust. Nonetheless, I would like to say that I am sorry for stepping out of parliamentary order and for my failure to withdraw my remarks when asked to do so, and now to so withdraw them."

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